Welcome back to the 25 for 25 Series! G-Man is turning 25 on July 23rd and to celebrate, I am counting down each of the sporting years I have been alive for. Full rules on the 25 for 25 Main Page.
Stanley Cup Champion: None – There was no 2004-2005 season in the National Hockey League due to a lockout. The lockout also produced experimentation in the AHL that resulted in the shootout–longtime readers know my opinion on those coin-flips.
NBA Champion: San Antonio Spurs (59-23, #2 Western Conference) — Tim Duncan and company won their third championship in a grind-it-out series against the Pistons as Duncan took home the Finals MVP. The Spurs took out MVP Steve Nash and his Suns in the Western Conference Finals while the Pistons downed Shaq and the Heat in the East in Shaq’s first full season in Miami. Allen Iverson won the NBA scoring title (30.7 per game) in his final full season with the Sixers.
World Series Champion: Chicago White Sox (99-63, #1 American League) — The White Sox were the second-straight franchise to break a LONG-standing World Series drought with their sweep of the Houston Astros-we’ll get to that other franchise later in case you’re not sure of that curse. The 2005 Season was also the first to debut MLB’s new steroid policy and was the season that introduced us to Ryan Howard-2005 NL Rookie of the Year.
Super Bowl Champion: Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5, #6 AFC) – The Steelers won the Super Bowl in Jerome Bettis’ final professional season defeating Shaun Alexander (remember him?) and the Seattle Seahawks. Alexander set an NFL record for rushing touchdowns (28) en route to being named NFL MVP-he would never be the same of this season.
NCAA Football National Champion: Texas Longhorns – Vince Young takes out Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush, Pete Carroll and the USC Trojans in the Rose Bowl.
NCAA Men’s Basketball National Champion: North Carolina (#1 Seed)
Masters Champion: Tiger Woods (9th Major)
US Open Champion: Michael Campbell (Only Major)
British Open Champion: Tiger Woods (10th Major)
PGA Champion: Phil Mickelson (2nd Major)
Before you jump down my throat in regards to no World Series in 1994, the lack of an NHL Season drastically hurt 2005, hence the 23rd ranking. If not for the lockout, we’d have a contender on our hands: two Tiger-majors and a Phil-major in golf, the introduction of Rafa Nedal at the French Open (taking his first title) and two Slams from Roger Federer in tennis, and let’s recap that Bowl Season. Specifically two games: the Orange Bowl and the Rose Bowl. Penn State’s triple-overtime victory over Florida State and Vince Young’s march to a National Championship were two games that took college football to another level for me. I had never really paid attention to the college level until the 2005 season but did I pick a good to start. I still remember staying up to watch both games (which was rare for 15-year-old-me, not so rare now as I finish this up at nearly 1am), and it is because of those types of memories that I decided to do this list.